Sunday, September 12, 2010

state of my spirit

Well, it's been over a year since I've posted on here. I just haven't really had any strong inclination (or haven't had the time when I did have the inclination) to post on this blog. A lot has happened in that year. I've moved to college and then gone back home for the summer and now come back to college again. Has college changed me some? Yes, it has. I don't see how it could *not* have changed me. Now, that may make it sound like I doubt my faith. *I don't.* None of my core beliefs have changed at all. Mainly, I am a little more open to other styles of worshiping Jesus. Sometimes it has definitely stretched me and taken me out of my comfort zone some, but I believe it has, over all, been good for me. I have had plenty of spiritual ups and downs. I so often wish that I didn't. I want my relationship with Jesus to always be what I think it ought to be, but it isn't. Sometimes I don't understand why my feelings don't line up with where I would like them to be. But I know this: He is faithful regardless of what my feelings say, and He is always with me, and He loves me. My deepest heart's cry and desire is to love Him and serve Him more each day of my life. But my mind and my emotions and my body don't always keep that at the forefront.

Anyway, what I got on here to write about was the trip I went on to a Benedictine monastery the first weekend of school. I'm one of about 15 mentors for a class here called Honors Orientation, and we went on a retreat August 27th-29th to talk about the class. I had gone to the monastery at Subiaco last semester as part of a "colloquium" (an honors class that usually involves reading a book and taking a short trip - in this case, studying the contemplative life). My experience that weekend was quite different than it was this time. I may post about the first time some day, but right now suffice it to say I basically experienced some "culture shock" and had some prejudices to work through. This time was fairly different in that way, because I knew what to expect. Also, most of our time was spent discussing things for the Honors Orientation class rather than learning about the monastic way of life. We did go to Morning, Noon, and Vesper prayers with the monks though.

On Saturday we had a couple hours of free time to do whatever we wanted. The first trip, the free time was specifically a time of quietness, every one on their own. Mine this time was like that too. Last time, it had been raining and I had been disappointed that I couldn't go walking. This time, the weather was absolutely beautiful. I walked down a path through a somewhat wooded area, singing worship songs and praying for the girls I am mentoring. I eventually wound up in the farm area of the monastery (they raise cows), and I climbed on top of a hay bale to read my Bible. I read through what I've heard one teacher call "The Valedictory Address of our Lord," John 13-17. I just took a few verses at a time and read them several times before moving on. Those chapters just really ministered to me. I spent about an hour and a half on top of that hay bale - loving every moment. Then, I went back to my room and spent about 45 minutes praying through the chapters, verse by verse. Sometimes songs would come to mind and I'd sing them. It was just a wonderful time of worship. I hadn't ever done anything quite like that, and I'm so glad the Spirit blessed me through that time. So often when I read the Bible or try to have devotional times, I'm bombarded with other thoughts like "oh, I need to do this!" or "oh, what about that!" Both times I've been at the monastery, however, there's been none of that. I will always remember that time I spent in communion with my Savior.

The other day I spent some time praying through a shorter passage of Scripture during my devotional time that I have most mornings. I'm reading through Proverbs right now (almost done with it), and I'm also reading a book a friend gave me called "The Satisfied Heart: 31 Days of Experiencing God's Love" by Ruth Myers. At the end of each day's reading, she lists references to several verses talking about God's love. One of the references was Psalm 37:3-8, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me through those verses. Like at the monastery, I hardly had any distractions as I prayed those verses. Again, it was wonderful.

May the Holy Spirit continue to use those verses to mold my heart into what He desires it to be. Praise be to the Lord for what He has done!